Part 9: What to do if you are being abused

Column courtesy of the Anti Violence Advocates Society in Barriere

  • Aug. 12, 2015 8:00 p.m.
Anti Violence Advocates Society

Anti Violence Advocates Society

If you are being abused, or if someone you know is being abused, there is always something that you can do, even if you don’t think so.

Whatever your abuser tells you, you have nothing to be ashamed of, and you do not have to keep the abuse a secret.

So, what should you do?

The easiest answer is to talk to someone you trust who is in a position to advise you. This could be a member of your family, a teacher at school, a priest from your church or perhaps the parents of a good friend.

Often, if the abuse is happening outside the home, telling your Mom or Dad is good. But, if the abuse is happening within the home your Mom or Dad might find it difficult to accept and it is better to seek advice from someone not so close to the problem. It doesn’t mean they don’t love you or care about you, it’s just that abuse is difficult for adults to handle too.

If there isn’t anyone you know personally who can help, or if you feel that you or anyone else is in danger, there are emergency help lines and advice lines that you can call.

There are even refuges…places of safety…where you can go if you need to escape.

Leaving home is a tough thing to do, but it may be just what you need to help start the process of solving the problems.

You can contact the Child Abuse Hotline on 1-800-4-A-CHILD.

If you are worried that your abuser may find out that you are trying to ask for help or report a problem, there are things that you can do to protect yourself.

Make a call from a trusted friend’s house if possible, rather than from your own home. You can do the same with the internet…it’s better not to use a home computer in case anyone sees what sites you have visited.

If you don’t have a friend whose phone or computer you can use, you can go to an internet cafe or use a public telephone.

Try to avoid using your mobile phone if possible for calls like these, as it’s very easy for calls or texts to be traced.

Whatever way you seek help, the organization will protect your privacy and will not force you to do anything you aren’t comfortable with. They are there to help you.

Steps for Escaping Abuse

If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1

Develop an escape plan which does not include confronting your abuser.

Contact your local Safe Home, and know about laws and resources available to you before a crisis.  They may be able to supply you with an emergency cell phone if you have not been allowed to have one of your own. If you have your own cell phone, download the Aspire App (free) and enter your emergency information.

Keep evidence of physical abuse.

Keep a journal of all violent incidences.

Take important phone numbers with you.

Gather important documents “medical records, birth certificates, driver’s license, restraining orders, divorce papers, passports, immigration papers.

If injured, go to the doctor, report what happened and document the visit.

Plan with your children, and identify a safe place for them to go for help.

Try to set money aside in your own bank account or hidden with your emergency bag.

Pack an extra set of clothing for yourself and your children and keep it at a friend’s home.

Request police standby or an escort to the shelter.

If you have been living in an abusive relationship, you may feel confused and afraid and not know where to turn or what to do. You may have mixed feelings of love and anger; wanting the abuse to end, but not wanting the relationship to be over. If you are in immediate danger call 911. For help contact Interior Health Crisis Line 1-888-353-2273.

AVA (Anti-Violence Advocates) Society is collecting cell phones and their chargers to be used by families planning to leave an abusive situation. Drop off your old phones at Armour Mountain Office Services. Thank you to Media Esteem, where Kevin has agreed to clear the phones to factory settings.